The Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle was opened in 1985, although the authorities decided that the rebuilt castle would house a new art institution even before the institution of the Martial Law in 1981. The idea behind the centre was not only to present contemporary art, but also to document it, develop art criticism and cooperate with artists on the international arena.
Wojciech Krukowski, the founder of the Academy of Movement (one of the most important independent groups combining performing arts, visual arts, theatre, and film) was appointed director of the centre after the political transformation. His broad experience allowed him to create a completely new and modern type of institution focusing primarily on experimental art.
In the 1990s, the Centre for Contemporary Art was hailed as the most important art institution in Central and Eastern Europe. Krukowski was bold enough to promote critical art emerging at that time, as well as organising the first solo exhibitions of artists such as Katarzyna Kozyra, Zbigniew Libera, Artur Żmijewski, and Paweł Althamer. During that period, apart from regular activities, such as the development of a permanent collection and organization of temporary exhibitions, the centre published the art magazine “Obieg”, operated a cinema, video library, bookstore, a space for performative arts, and a café.
Today, the Centre for Contemporary Art remains one of the most interesting institutions devoted to contemporary art.